Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Know Nothings Know No One

by Cathy Sewell

Last week I wrote about Newt Gingrich and how, in the mid-90s, he ended a long-standing tradition of educating incoming legislators through a week-long seminar conducted by Harvard University. Newt wanted to keep his Republicans away from the Harvard liberals. He even went so far as to tell the young public servants to get out of Washington as often as possible.

The result? Goodbye to the era of Reagan/Tip O’Neill friendly adversarial relationships.

In its place, we have no give, only take. Witness the pledge, provided by Grover Norquist and signed by tea party and other conservatives, to never under any circumstances raise taxes. Better to take the country to the brink of disaster than to give an inch.

I saw Senators Durbin and McCain on the Senate floor debating during the debt "crisis," going back and forth in a friendly way and thought, this is what it should be like all the time. Mitch McConnell is intent on failure for our President, and vows to people the debt commission with hard line conservatives. Our only hope in this environment is that there will be enough "noise" from their constituents that will lead to pressure resulting in compromise. Don't bet on it. With all the big money involved with these campaigns from anonymous donors and the usual suspects—Dick Armey, Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers—conservatives know where their bread is buttered.

The hope I have is that ordinary people will become the force for change in this country. By raising our voices and being heard in town halls, community meetings, door to door, neighbor to neighbor, we will win for the middle class and those less fortunate.

Be sure to call our office if you want to help: 630-629-1125. We need all hands on deck to create the future we want for our country.

Cathy Sewell is First Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of DuPage County

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